If the spaniels are built for royalty, that means the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is king. This regal toy spaniel dates back to the Renaissance, where King Charles I and his son Charles II were particularly fond of the breed. Eventually, the cavalier was dubbed after their namesake. Well into the 19th century, cavaliers were a favorite among British aristocrats, and they bred different varieties of this special toy breed.
Known for their distinctive coloring, the cavalier has four main color patterns: Tricolor (with black markings on white) Blenheim (chestnut markings on white) black and tan, and ruby (a deep orangy-red.) Historically, these colors signify what royal family your particular cavalier may have come from.
It’s time for your pup to strut their royal stuff. Here’s what you need to know about grooming a cavalier.
Looking pristine is easy when it comes to the cavalier’s glossy coat. However, if you want your dog to really shine, brushing your cavalier out daily to keep them looking their best. With a medium bristle brush appropriate for a small breed, brush out their hair evenly throughout their body. This helps stimulate the natural oils in their skin, making their coat shine. Be extra careful when brushing out the ears, as this is a sensitive area.
A cavalier’s hair naturally provides a soft wave that can sometimes lead to tangles. The back of the legs and under the tail are the areas that will most likely get matted first, so take extra time to brush those areas out for a thorough and fresh look.
Before you’re finished brushing completely, don’t forget the feet! The cavalier is one of the very few breeds that have hair that continuously grows on the feet. This will require trimming from time to time. When the hair on the feet gets knotted, it can cause difficulty when walking. Like the rest of the coat, brush the feet out until they’re tangle-free.
When it’s time to bathe your cavalier, remember: once a month is more than enough. Too much bathing removes the natural skin oils that make your dog shine. It can also lead to dry or irritated skin.
Noticing your cavalier’s fur not soaking in your shampoo? That is because cavaliers have water-resistant coats! Experts suggest shampooing the coat twice to remove the residue build-up. When shampooing, lather up your cavalier with lukewarm water and shampoo, rinse and repeat. You only need to do a conditioner once thereafter. When washing, avoid getting any soap in your dog’s eyes and face. After your bath, you can clean your cavalier’s face with a damp washcloth.
Because a cavalier is water-resistant, drying your pup off immediately with a towel after their bath is pivotal unless you want water sprayed all over the house. After the initial dry off, use a dog-friendly hairdryer on the lowest setting and start brushing your dog while you blow-dry. This will give your cavalier a fluffy and fresh look while avoiding tangles.
Ready for your cavalier pup to shine? Here are the top hairstyles for cavaliers.
It’s Show Time
The cavalier is king for a reason, they love being the center of attention. An easy-going and happy breed, the cavalier is one of the most popular toy breeds at the Westminster Dog Show. The show-ready cut fluffs out the cavalier’s hair, including their legs and feet, and groomers cut the ear fur in a nice straight line. The show cut is fit for royalty!
Though your cavalier may not be a puppy anymore, any time is a good time for a puppy cut. Puppy cuts work well on a lot of breeds, as it’s both low maintenance and keeps your dog comfortable in the warmer months. The hair is the same short length all over and is about an inch or two in length, with the exception to the cavalier’s iconic ears which are usually kept longer. It’s short enough that you don’t have to brush out your dog daily, but long enough to keep them protected from the elements.
Keep on top of a puppy cut, though, otherwise their hair will tangle up once again.
Keep it Natural
When you have a dog as perfect as a cavalier, why change what they already have in spades? Keep a cavalier’s hair natural by giving them a very light trim at the bottom of their coats and keep the hair that grows on their feet tidy to avoid discomfort. The natural length of their fur is perfect for them to feel comfortable in the summer and winter months.
This means that they still should be brushed out regularly, however, because tangling or matting can happen easily.
Before being 100% finished with the cavalier’s new do, check their ears for signs of infection. Some cavalier owners trim the inside of the ear fur for better airflow, as that helps avoid some bacteria build up.
This is also the time to clip their nails to avoid overgrowth, which can be painful to walk on and may damage a dog’s paw.
Does your dog need a fresh trim? Is your cavalier hankering for a makeover? A groomer can come to your house! Rover offers dog grooming in Seattle, Austin, Washington DC, and Denver. To learn more, please check out our page here.